VA-72 Blue Hawks
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VFB-18 Bearcats - about 1945
VF-72 - 1952
VA-72 Blue Hawks
VA-72 Blue Hawks 1969 Med cruise
VA-72 BLUE HAWKS - 1966
Courtesy of John Lamers
VA-72 Blue Hawks combat Corsairs
Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN (VBF-18) was using the Bearcat patch before 1945. This patch courtesy of Doug Siegfried, is displayed above.
On December 5, 1950, Fighter Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VF-72) installed the Peregrine Falcon patch.
In 1956, Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VA-72) continued using the Peregrine Falcon patch but added a scroll with "ATAKRON 72." This patch courtesy of Youthly Puresome, is displayed above.
The VA-72 WestPac Cruise of 1966-67 spawned the patch provide by John Lamers (above).
Wayne "Bagel" Berge.
Harry S. Gann.
Bearcats from 1945 to about 1950
Skyhawks, from about 1950 to SEP 1956
Blue Hawks, from 1956 to 1991.
January 25, 1945, Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN (VBF-18) established.
November 15, 1946, VBF-18 was re-designated Fighter Squadron EIGHT A (VF-8A).
July 28, 1948, VF-8A was re-designated Fighter Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VF-72).
January 3, 1956, VF-72 was re-designated Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VA-72).
"Welcome Aboard" information: Welcome Page1; Welcome Page2; Welcome Page3; Welcome Page4; Welcome Page5; Welcome Page6; Welcome Page7; Welcome Page8; Welcome Page9; Welcome Page10; Welcome Page11; Welcome Page12; Welcome Page13; Welcome Page14; Welcome Page15; Welcome Page16; Welcome Page17.
Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VA-72) was dis-established on June 30, 1991.
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
January 25, 1945 - - - - - Naval Air Station Astoria
April 22, 1945 - - - - - - Naval Air Station San Diego
November 14, 1945- - - - - Naval Air Station Quonset Point
September 3, 1957- - - - - Naval Air Station Oceana
February 15, 1966- - - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
February 7, 1945 - - - - - - - Grumman F6F-3/5 Hellcat
August 10, 1945- - - - - - - - Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat
January 1947 - - - - - - - - - Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat
March 20, 1948 - - - - - - - - Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat
December 1, 1948 - - - - - - - Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat
February 9, 1950 - - - - - - - Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat
March 16, 1951 - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-2 Panther *
October 11, 1951 - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-5 Panther *
February 1952- - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-2 Panther *
February 1953- - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-5 Panther *
September 1956 - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk **
February 12, 1958- - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B_Skyhawk **
March 1961 - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk **
May 1964 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawk **
March 1967 - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4B Skyhawk
January 1970 - - - - - - - - - Vought A-7B Corsair II
September 13, 1977 - - - - - - Vought A-7E Corsair II
* The F9F through the F9F-5 Panther have straight wings; The F9F-6 through the F9F-8 Cougar have swept wings.
** November 30, 1962
The A4D-1 designation was changed to A-4A
The A4D-2 designation was changed to A-4B
The A4D-2N designation was changed to A-4C
The A4D-5 designation was changed to A-4E
Three view drawings from Harry Gann, redrawn by Bud Southworth.
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
January 25, 1945 - - - - L/AG† - - - CVG-18/CVAG-7/CVG-7/CVW-7*
March 7, 1966 - - - - - - AB - - - - CVW-1
August 26, 1968 - - - - - AJ - - - - CVW-8
September 22, 1969- - - - AD - - - - RCVW-4‡
March 2, 1970 - - - - - - AB - - - - CVW-1
October 1, 1986 - - - - - AG - - - - CVW-7
September 1988 - - - - - - - - - - - COMLATWING 1§
March 1, 1989 - - - - - - AC - - - - CVW-3
* CVG-18 was re-designated CVAG-7 on November 15, 1946. On September 1, 1948, CVAG-7 was re-designated CVG-7. CVG-7 was re-designated CVW-7 when Carrier Air Group (CVG) designations were re-designated Carrier Air Wings (CVW) on December 20, 1963.
The tail code was changed from L to AG in 1957. The effective date for this change was most likely the beginning of FY 58 (July 1, 1957).
The squadron was assigned to RCVW-4 during its transition to the A-7B.
The squadron detached from CVW-7 and came under the operational and administrative control of Commander Light Attack Wing 1
Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
09-16-46 to 12-12-46 - CVG-18 - CV 32 - F8F-1- - Carib/South America
04-03-47 to 06-09-47 - CVAG-7 - CV 32 - F8F-1B - Mediterranean
07-30-47 to 11-19-47 - CVAG-7 - CV 32 - F8F-1B - Mediterranean
01-04-49 to 05-23-49 - CVG-7 - CV 47 -- F8F-1- - Mediterranean
07-10-50 to 11-10-50 - CVG-7 - CVB 41 - F8F-1B - Mediterranean
05-20-52 to 01-08-53 - CVG-7 - CV 31 -- F9F-2 - WestPac/Korea
09-16-53 to 02-21-54 - CVG-7 - CVA 20 - F9F-5 - NorLant/Mediterranean
04-04-55 to 12-10-55 - CVG-7 - CVS 12 - F9F-5 - WestPac
09-02-58 to 03-12-59 - CVG-7 - CVA 15 - A4D-2 - Mediterranean
08-04-60 to 03-03-61 - CVG-7 - CVA 62 - A4D-2 - Mediterranean
08-04-61 to 12-19-61 - CVG-7 - CVA 62 - A4D-2N - Mediterranean
04-19-62 to 08-27-62 - CVG-7 - CVA 62 - A4D-2N - Mediterranean
08-06-63 to 03-04-64 - CVG-7 - CVA 62 - A-4C - Mediterranean
09-08-64 to 11-05-64 - CVW-7 - CVA 62 - A-4E - NorLant/Mediterranean
05-10-65 to 12-13-65 - CVW-7 - CVA 62 - A-4E - WestPac/Vietnam
06-21-66 to 02-21-67 - CVW-1 - CVA 42 - A-4E - WestPac/Vietnam
08-24-67 to 05-19-68 - CVW-1 - CVA 42 - A-4B - Mediterranean
01-07-69 to 07-29-69 - CVW-8 - CVA 38 - A-4B - Mediterranean
09-14-70 to 03-01-71 - CVW-1 - CVA 67 - A-7B - Carib/Mediterranean/NorLant
12-01-71 to 10-06-72 - CVW-1 - CVA 67 - A-7B - Med/NorLant
04-16-73 to 12-01-73 - CVW-1 - CVA 67 - A-7B - Med/NorLant/Mediterranean
06-28-75 to 01-27-76 - CVW-1 - CV 67 -- A-7B - Mediterranean
09-02-76 to 11-09-76 - CVW-1 - CV 67 -- A-7B - NorLant
01-15-77 to 08-01-77 - CVW-1 - CV 67 -- A-7B - Mediterranean
06-29-78 to 02-08-79 - CVW-1 - CV 67 -- A-7E - Mediterranean
08-04-80 to 03-28-81 - CVW-1 - CV 67 -- A-7E - Mediterranean
08-23-82 to 10-30-82 - CVW-1 - CV 66 -- A-7E - NorLant/Mediterranean/Carib
12-08-82 to 06-02-83 - CVW-1 - CV 66 -- A-7E - Mediterranean/IO
04-24-84 to 11-14-84 - CVW-1 - CV 66 -- A-7E - Carib/Mediterranean/IO
08-24-85 to 10-09-85 - CVW-1 - CV 66 -- A-7E - NorLant
03-10-86 to 09-10-86 - CVW-1 - CV 66 -- A-7E - Mediterranean
02-29-88 to 08-29-88 - CVW-7 - CVN 69 - A-7E - Mediterranean
08-15-90 to 03-28-91 - CVW-3 - CV 67 -- A-7E - Mediterranean/Red Sea.
Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
January 25, 1945 - - - - LT Mohl C. Norton, Jr. (Acting)
March 5, 1945- - - - - - LCDR Jeremy Morrison
September 14, 1945 - - - CDR Sam E. Clark
June 11, 1947- - - - - - LCDR Frank Malinasky
July 6, 1948 - - - - - - LCDR Burton F. Haker
August 19, 1948- - - - - LT G. F. Colleran (acting)
October 20, 1948 - - - - LCDR Frank Malinasky
June 20, 1949- - - - - - LCDR Carlton H. Clark
July 4, 1950 - - - - - - LCDR John B. Jorgensen
July 9, 1951 - - - - - - LCDR Archibald W. Curtis
January 1953 - - - - - - CDR Gordon J. Brown
November 12, 1954- - - - LCDR Carlton F. Naumann
February 8, 1956 - - - - LCDR Robert F. Hunt
July 23, 1957- - - - - - CDR C. K. Ruiz
February 4, 1959 - - - - CDR John K. Beling
March 4, 1960- - - - - - CDR C. A. Hill, Jr.
May 12, 1961 - - - - - - CDR W. W. Kendall Miller, Jr.
April 16, 1962 - - - - - CDR Frederick S. Gore
March 25, 1963 - - - - - CDR T. L. Neilson
February 17, 1964- - - - CDR Grover C. Walker *.
February 10, 1965- - - - CDR Joe D. Adkins *.
February 11, 1966- - - - CDR Harrison B. Southworth *.
March 15, 1967 - - - - - CDR E. J. Hofstra *.
March 15, 1968 - - - - - CDR R. A. Phillips
April 10, 1969 - - - - - CDR S. E. Latimer, Jr.
October 17, 1969 - - - - CDR D. B. Young, Jr.
September 9, 1970- - - - CDR R. K. Shea
July 2, 1971 - - - - - - CDR M. G. Basford
July 8, 1972 - - - - - - CDR J. F. Donahue
July 14, 1973- - - - - - CDR Robert J. Kelly
September 12, 1974 - - - CDR Edward D. Estes
October 16, 1975 - - - - CDR Robert F. Brennock
December 16, 1976- - - - CDR Patrick M. Commons
April 6, 1978- - - - - - CDR Hugh A. Merrill
July 1979- - - - - - - - CDR Howard E. Koss
October 1980 - - - - - - CDR Carter B. Refo
February 16, 1982- - - - CDR Robert L. Kiem
June 9, 1983 - - - - - - CDR C. A. Cook
November 21, 1984- - - - CDR Arthur F. Richardson
May 3, 1986- - - - - - - CDR Gordon G. Stewart
October 15, 1987 - - - - CDR James B. Waddell
June 15, 1989- - - - - - CDR John R. Sanders
* Official United States Navy photographs from Al Carpenter
01 January 1970 to 30 June 1971
24 October 1962 to 20 November 1962
15 June 1965
29 June 1965 to 03 July 1965
29 September 1970 to 31 October 1970
01 December 1977 to 01 March 1979
29 August 1985 to 20 September 1985
18 October 1962 to 23 October 1962
01 January 1983 to 20 January 1983
06 May 1983 to 08 May 1983
21 March 1986 to 27 June 1986
05 June 1965 to 21 November 1965
23 March 1986 to 17 April 1986
17 January 1991 to 28 February 1991
21 October 1965
23 October 1965
25 October 1965 to 02 November 1965
09 November 1965 to 10 November 1965
04 August 1980 to 28 March 1981
23 August 1982 to 02 June 1983
04 July 1965 to 09 August 1965
25 August 1965 to 21 September 1965
14 October 1965 to 12 November 1965
30 July 1966
09 August 1966 to 12 September 1966
01 October 1966 to 03 October 1966
19 October 1966 to 14 November 1966
24 November 1966 to 28 December 1966
20 January 1967 to 21 January 1967
18 June 1952 to 24 December 1952
17 January 1991 to 28 February 1991
14 September 1990 to 12 March 1991
January 25, 1945: Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN (VBF-18) established at NAS Astoria, Oregon.
February 7, 1945: Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN was assigned the Grumman F6F-3/5 Hellcat.
April 22, 1945: VFB-18 moved to NAS San Diego, California.
August 10, 1945: Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN was assigned the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat.
November 14, 1945: VFB-18 moved to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
September 16 through December 12, 1946: Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN "Bearcats" flying the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat assigned aboard USS Leyte CV 32, participated in the good-will cruise to the Caribbean and South America for the inauguration of Chile's President.
November 15, 1946: Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN was re-designated Fighter Squadron EIGHT A (VF-8A).
April 3 through June 9, 1947: Fighter Squadron EIGHT A flying the Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat assigned aboard USS Leyte CV 32, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
July 30 through November 19, 1947: VF-8A "Bearcats" flying the Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat assigned aboard USS Leyte CV 32, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
July 28, 1948: Fighter Squadron EIGHT A (VF-8A) was re-designated Fighter Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VF-72).
August 19, 1948: Squadron commanding officer, LCdr. B. F. Haker, lost at sea.
January 4 through May 23, 1949: Fighter Squadron SEVENTY TWO flying the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat assigned aboard USS Philippine Sea CV 47, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
July 10 through November 10, 1950: VF-72 "Bearcats" flying the Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat assigned aboard USS Midway CVB 41, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
March 16, 1951: Fighter Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Hawks" was assigned the Grumman F9F-2 Panther.
May 20, 1952 through January 8, 1953: VF-72 "Hawks" flying the Grumman F9F-2 Panther and assigned aboard USS Bon Homme Richard CV 31, participated on a combat cruise to WestPac/Korea.
September 16, 1953 through February 21, 1954: Fighter Squadron SEVENTY TWO flying the Grumman F9F-5 Panther assigned aboard USS Bennington CVA 20, participated on a cruise to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean operating areas.
January 3, 1956: Fighter Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VF-72) "Hawks" was re-designated Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VA-72) "Hawks".
September 1956: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO was assigned the Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk.
June 20, 1957: Lt.(jg) John G. Hughes III, 25, was killed at 3:45 p.m. today when his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 139952) crashed in Narragansett Bay a mile from NAS Quonset Point, RI. Hughes was flying a chase plane and observing another Skyhawk make an instrument landing when his craft plunged into the water. The Boston Globe, Friday, 21 June 1957, Page 40. Lt. John O. Hughes III flying A4D-1 BuNo 139952, perished in a bay crash near NAS Quonset Point, RI. Newport, RI, The News, Friday, June 21, 1957
September 3, 1957: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO moved to NAS Oceana, Virginia.
February 6, 1958: Lt(jg). Jack L. Moss lost his plane when a flock of birds swept into the intake of his A4D (BuNo 139951) while he was making a low-altitude run and the cockpit filled with smoke. He managed to climb the plane to 2,
feet and bailed out safely near Norfolk. The Daily Review, Hayward, CA, Monday, February 10, 1958. The pilot and his flight leader departed Cecil Field on the final leg of a low level navigation flight from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to NAS Oceana, VA. Approximately 54 minutes into the flight the ceiling lowered to 1,000 feet with light rain and 12 minutes later the weather deteriorated and he closed to a tight wing position to maintain contact with the flight leader. Visual contact was lost when the ceiling reduced to 150-300 feet with rain and the wingman slowed to assure safe separation. Shortly thereafter, in the vicinity of Edenton, NC, at an indicated altitude of 100 feet and an airspeed of 320 knots he flew head-on into a flock of large birds. The cockpit filled with smoke and, as the pilot reached to turn off his pressurization, the A4D struck an unknown object. The density of the cockpit smoke increased completely obscuring the instruments. The pilot added full throttle, pulled back on the stick, climbed into the overcast and ejected at an altitude of about 2,000 feet. Naval Aviation News, Grampaw Pettibone, July, 1958.
September 2, 1958 through March 12, 1959: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO flying the Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Randolph CVA 15, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
September 25, 1958: Lt. Thomas A. Banta, 27, died Thursday when his Navy jet fighter plane (A4D-2 BuNo 142702) crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in a launching accident during takeoff from the USS Randolph. His body was not recovered and there were no immediate details of the accident. Chester (PA.) Times, Monday, September 29, 1958. Bridle detached from one hook and dragged a/c sideways down track and upside down into sea resulting in pilot's death. From Capt. Jack Moss, USN Retd. 0842 A4D2 No 302, keel No. 142702 of VA-72, pilot Lt. T. (illegible) BANTA crashed into sea off port catapult and starboard bow at latitude 32-16.5N, longitude 34-18.4E and sank in 430 fathoms of water. USS Ingram (DD-938) and helicopter commenced search for pilot. ... 1130 search for pilot concluded. Results negative. Pilot Lt. Thomas A. Banta presumed dead. USS Randolph (CVA-15) deck log, Thursday, 25 September 1958.
October 30, 1958: Lt(jg). John Parrott ejected safely (A4D-2 BuNo 142720) after he collided with a VA-75 AD-6 Skyraider which was circling the ship under an overcast. Lt. Wallace D. Arbuckle, 29, the AD pilot, was killed. 1903 AD6 BuNo 139688 of VA-75, pilot Lt. W.D. Arbuckle and A4D BuNo 142720 of VA-72, pilot Lt(jg). J. Parrott, had mid-air collision off port (illegible) ship at 40 degrees 50.1 E, 10 degrees 17.***, and crashed into sea in 550 fathoms of water, both sunk. USS Turner (DDR-834) directed to search area. 191* USS Turner (DDR-834) recovered Lt(jg). J. Parrott reported to be in good condition. Search continued for other pilot. 193* Returning to scene of crash with USS Turner (DDR-834). 1950 on scene of crash. 2000 Commencing search for missing pilot. 2330 Completed search for lost pilot. USS Turner (DDR-834) remaining at scene to continue search. USS Randolph (CVA-15) deck log, Thursday, 25 September 1958.
November 15, 1958: LCdr. George Gardner (VA-72 Ops Officer) - ramp strike - tail broke off (including O2 bottle) - a/c (A4D-2 BuNo 142692) flipped over, caught fire and came to rest on deck - fire had to be put out before a/c could be lifted, clamshell canopy opened and pilot removed - pilot suffocated due to lack of oxygen. From Capt. Jack Moss, USN Retd. 2051 A4D aircraft serial 142692, pilot LCdr. Gardner crashed on the flight deck forward of the ramp on fantail. The aircraft caught on fire, turned over and slid to a stop on elevator #2. The pilot was killed. Sounded fire quarters. 2125 secured from fire quarters. USS Randolph (CVA-15) deck log, Thursday, 15 November 1958.
April 1959 to July 1 1959: VA-72 flying their A4D-2 Skyhawks participated in USS Independence (CVA-62) shake down cruise.
June 29, 1959: Lt(jg) Parrot ejected safely … received report that Lt(jg). Parrot, VA-72, was forced to bail out of his A4D BuNo 142706 because of trouble with his landing gear at 0855. Pilot is believed to have bailed out at Lat. 29-23 N and Long. 81-17 W. Received report that Lt(jg). Parrot is in water and being picked up by helicopter at 0910. USS Independence deck log, Monday, 29 June 1959
August 12, 1959: Lt(jg). L.E. Eilbacker ejected safely when his A4D-2 142721 of VA-72 crashed into the sea about a half mile astern of the USS Independence (Lat. 36-00.8N, Long 74-39.5) on an approach to a landing on 12 August 1959 and was rescued by helicopter (51) which was always airborne. Pilot received multiple abrasions and contusions of head arms and legs upon ejecting from aircraft. Cdr. G.E. Peddicord, USS Independence Air Officer (1958-1960). USS Independence deck log, 12 August 1959.
May 4, 1960: Lt(jg) Feltham ejected safely when his A4D spun in at about 1500 ft. attitude after a night launch from the USS Independence on 04 May 1960 (Carquals) evidently, caused by pilot disorientation. He was rescued by our plane-guarding destroyer. Cdr. G. E. Peddicord, USS Independence Air Officer (1958-1960). 2104 hours Lt(jg) Feltham, USNR, was picked-up by the USS Wood (DDR-715) at 35-13.8N, 74-49W in 600 fathoms of water after parachuting from A4D BuNo 144880 which had been launched from this vessel. USS Independence Deck Log, Wednesday, 4 May 1960.
August 4, 1960 through March 3, 1961: VA-72 "Hawks" flying the Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Independence CVA 62, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
October 14, 1960: John Tate ejected from A4D-2 BuNo 142805 and was rescued when his bomb skipped and exploded under his plane, setting it on fire, during a Path Follower Mission fire power demonstration with an A3D-2 Skywarrior and another A4D-2 Skyhawk. After the explosion the ship repeatedly called "get out you are on fire" and hearing this the crew of the VAH-11 Skywarrior (BuNo 144629,) seeing their starboard engine was on fire, bailed out and also were rescued.
December 14, 1960: Lt(jg). Robert Barnick ejected safely when his A4D-2 (BuNo 142698) flamed out just astern of the carrier after the fuel gauge immediately dropped to 600 lbs. on a night launch. The plane guard destroyer had their lights on him before he hit the water and after one riser didn't release and the Destroyer propwash pulled him and the chute under a Lt(jg). from the Destroyer dove in and rescued Bob who was revived on deck and then transferred back to the Indy. From John Tate. While proceeding to the marshal point in a heavy haze the pilot had to break off and orientate himself on instruments only to discover his fuel state had gone from 4400 pounds to 800 pounds in 11 minutes indicating a stuck fuel cell float valve. He descended in a no speed brake idle approach and at four miles was instructed to "dirty-up" and at three miles descended to 600 feet. At two miles he reported ship in sight and at one mile started his descent. At 400 feet he called "meatball 100 pounds" and a few seconds later flamed out. He ejected and on hitting the water inflated his flotation gear, collapsed the chute and became entangled in the shroud lines but managed to grab a line from the destroyer, the chute began to drag him under and a watchful destroyer officer dove over the side and swam to his rescue. NAN Grampaw Pettibone, April 1961.
August 4 through December 19, 1961: VA-72 "Hawks" flying the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Independence CVA 62, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
August 16, 1961: LCdr. James Alfred Mulligan ejected safely when his A4D-2N rolled inverted and he lost his instruments at night on final approach to the Indy. From John Tate. 2045 A4D, BuNo 148461, of VA-72, pilot LCDR J.A. Mulligan, crashed in the water approximately 10 miles astern. Latitude 39-02N; Longitude, 04-41E. Detached USS Gyatt (DDG-1) immediately to proceed to scene. 2145 Received report from USS Gyatt (DDG-1): pilot in sight in water; boat underway for rescue. 2158 LCDR Mulligan safely aboard USS Gyatt DDG-1). Pilot reported to be in excellent physical condition. USS Independence deck log, 16 August 1961.
April 19 through August 27, 1962: VA-72 "Blue Hawks" flying the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Independence CVA 62, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
October 1962: During the Bay of Pigs VA-72 operated from USS Independence CVA 62, south of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
May 10 through 16, 1963: The "Blue Hawks" provided courier service during a Mercury Project space flight of the Faith 7 capsule from USS Wasp CVS 18.
August 6, 1963 through March 4, 1964: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Blue Hawks" flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Independence CVA 62, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
August 19, 1963: Lt(jg). Herbert “Hot Guns” Recktenwald (148579) Lt(jg). Duane “King Tut” Tuttle (149512) ejected during Operation Riptide when the carrier and the divert field at Lann Bihoue at Lorient were WOXOF and his A-4 crashed into a house in the village of Plouharnel, France. Source R.G. "Leaky" Hoch. 1930 Received report that one of four aircraft landed safely. Aircraft side #301, BuNo 149512, and aircraft side #305, BuNo 148579, A4C of VA-72 were lost when pilots bailed out over land as they ran out of fuel. Pilots were recovered safely. Aircraft side #407, BuNo 149631, A4C of VA86, was lost when pilot bailed out over water as it ran out of fuel. Search is continuing for pilot, LT W.R. Hall, USN. USS Independence deck log, 19 August 1963. Eau Claire, WI, The Daily Telegram, Wednesday, August 21, 1963. Charleston, WV, The Daily Mail, Tuesday, August 20, 1963. Anderson, IN, The Anderson Herald, Tuesday, August 20, 1963. Kalispel, MT, Kalispel Inter Lake, Tuesday, August 20, 1963. US Armed Forces, Pacific Stars and Stripes, Wednesday, August 28, 1963.
August 23, 1963: Lt. Steven E. Kadas, VA-72, NAS Oceana, is missing and presumed dead after his Skyhawk (BuNo 148568) collided with the ramp of the USS Independence as he approached the ship for a landing Friday night in the Med. Although parts of the plane were recovered, the search for the pilot was discontinued early Saturday. Kingsport News, Monday, 26 August 1963. Lt. Steven E. Kadas hit the ramp and was killed. Source R.G. "Leaky" Hoch. 2240 Aircraft #304 (A4C) VA-72, pilot LT S.E. Kadas crashed off flight deck into water, port bow. Stopped engines. COM DES RON SIXTEEN in USS Bigelow (DD-942) was directed to detached destroyer to search and recover pilot. COM DES DIV ONE-SIX-TWO (162) in USS Ware (DD-865) designated as OTC of SAR units. USS Lawe (DD-763), USS Owens (DD-776) joined SAR to assist. 0003 Mustered the crew on Station. Absentee: LT Kadas. 0159 Assumed command of USS Bigelow (DD-942) USS Ware (DD-865). USS Lawe (DD-763) designated as Search and Rescue Commander. USS Lawe (DD-763) and USS Owens (DD-776) ordered to rendezvous in Pollensia Bay by 241200A. 0230 Debris of aircraft recovered by destroyers included part of LT Kadas' helmet. Identification confirmed by VA-72 officers. USS Independence deck log, 23 August 1963.
September 8 through November 5, 1964: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Blue Hawks" flying the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Independence CVA 62, participated on a cruise to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean.
December 1, 1964: Lt(jg). Errol J. Quinn ejected safely Tuesday when his Skyhawk (A-4E BuNo 151141) crashed in Pamlico Sound 18 miles east of Cherry Point, NC. Hamilton Ohio, Journal - The Daily News, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 1964.
March 7, 1965: Capt. Joe Mitchum (USAF) in VA-72 A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151114 ejected safely after he collided with Lt. Bob Manser in VA-72 A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151117, in the groove while recovering aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62). Cause of the accident was a slight difference in formation flying procedures between the USAF and USN, 07 March 1965. From Cdr. Al Carpenter. 11 February 2016. A-4E BuNo 151114 of VA-72, pilot Capt. Mitchum, USAF, and A-4E BuNo 151117 of VA-72, pilot Lt. Manser, USN, crashed into the sea astern of the ship 1500 yards at lat. 19-63.5N, long. 55-10.0W and sank in 4100 fathoms of water. Helo brought back pilots of both downed A/C. USS Independence logbook, 07 March 1965. As four VA-72 Skyhawks in a finger four formation are making the turn to Fox Corpen and coming across the wake #2 gets the signal to cross over into echelon and crossed right into #3 resulting in loss of both aircraft. From YP 12 February 2016.
1. Used to spend lots of time on Vulture's Row and platform for fun. Was up on Vulture's Row, watching the recovery. The fighters were done, and here comes VA-72 (aka brand X) out of holding in finger four formation. As they are making the turn to Fox Corpen (The carrier's heading for flight operations), coming across the wake, Numero Two-o gets the signal to cross over into echelon. Guess wot? He crossed right into Numero three-o. Huge explosion! Pieces of airplane, the front of a Scooter with the fuselage and empennage torn off behind the wing and fire everywhere, comes spinning out of the mess. Ho--lee--chit! Wouldn't have thunk it, but two chutes appeared. One of them was an AF exchange pilot, who fit into the tight Scoot cockpit like a cork--we always thot that an ejection would plane off several inches from each side. It didn't, but he was so heavy, wet, the little Kayman helo had to go dump gas to be light enough to pick him up. Didn't even get close to the famous part, but I've seen two mid-airs: From Youthly Puresome, 12 February 2016.
May 10 through December 13, 1965: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Blue Hawks" flying the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Independence CVA 62, participated on a combat cruise to WestPac/Vietnam.
September 13, 1965: LTJG Joe Russell Mossman, flying Skyhawk BuNo.149999, was struck by small arms fire and was lost in action. He, and others who served aboard and were lost from the U.S.S. Indpendence, are remembered on a plaque that resides aboard the "Indy". Plaque Pic 1 Plaque Pic 2 Plaque Pic 3
September 20, 1965: Lt(jg). John R. Harris ejected (BuNo.151115) and was rescued by a USN UH-2B Seasprite piloted by LCdr. W. Wetzel and Lt(jg). Vendeveld off the USS Galveston 25 miles SW of Dao Nung after he was hit by ground fire during an attack on the bridge at Doa Nung.
October 17, 1965: Commander Harrison B. Southworth, VA-72 XO, led the first successful strike against a surface-to-air SA-2 missile installation in North Vietnam. Commander Harrison B. Southworth, VA-72 XO. Commander Harrison B. Southworth, VA-72 XO. U.S. Navy Photographs from Al Carpenter
February 15, 1966: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Blue Hawks" moved to NAS Cecil Field, Florida.
June 21, 1966 through February 21, 1967: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Blue Hawks" flying the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA 42, participated on a combat cruise to WestPac/Vietnam.
August 21, 1966: Lt. Allan "Al" Russell Carpenter ejected (BuNo.151109) and was rescued by a Navy helicopter after a 2.75" rocket attack on railway trucks 5 miles SW of Than Hoa resulted in a muffled explosion in the engine and subsequent fire. Possibly AAA or FFAR FOD.
August 22, 1966: Lt. K.G. Craig ejected (BuNo 149992) and was rescued by a Navy helicopter after his Skyhawk ingested rocket debris during a 2.75" and 5.0" rocket attack on a motorized junk 5 miles offshore from Lien Qui.
November 1, 1966: Lt. Allan "Al" Russell Carpenter POW, lost to AAA on an "Iron Hand" mission after firing a Shrike missile and four Zunis. While heading for the coast at 5,500' the aircraft (BuNo 151138) slewed sideways, turned turtle and headed downhill and he ejected 40 degrees nose down at 550 knots over Haiphong harbor. From Al Carpenter.
December 14, 1966: Lt. Claude David Wilson was killed after his Skyhawk (BuNo 151058) was hit by two SA-2 missiles which caused the aircraft to disintegrate enroute to the target area while on an Iron Hand mission
March 21, 1967: LCdr. Robert W. McKay, 34, ejects from his NAS Cecil Field based VA-72 A-4 Skyhawk (A-4B BuNo 142836) before it crashes into a wooded area west of Lake City, FL. March 27, 1967. "He suffered no apparent injuries", a Navy spokesman said. "He was picked up by the Highway Patrol and will be returned to Cecil Field on a Navy helicopter.
August 24, 1967 through May 19, 1968: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Blue Hawks" flying the Douglas A-4B Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA 42, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
December 18, 1968: Lt(jg). C.K. Harvey was killed when he hit the ramp. 1917 A-4B BuNo 144987 of VA-72, pilot LTjg C.K. Harvey hit the ramp and crashed into the sea off the port quarter at Lat. 17-28N, Long. 067-12.5W, and sank in 2000 fathoms of water. USS Ault (DD-698) and helicopter commenced search for pilot. 2300 discontinued helo search for pilot. Ault continuing search. 2350 stationed USS Ault two miles astern of this vessel. USS Shangri-La deck log, 18 December 1968. The Shang was conducting ORI in southern Puerto Rico OPAREA.
December 26, 1968: LCdr. G.E. Evans (VA-72) was recovered safely from the St. Johns river when he crashed on takeoff from runway #5, USNS Mayport, FL, plane #503, A4B Skyhawk BuNo 142945. No injuries reported. USS Shangri-La deck log, 26 December 1968. The Shang was moored stbd side pier 1, Mayport, FL.
January 7 through July 29, 1969: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO "Blue Hawks" flying the Douglas A-4B Skyhawk and assigned aboard USS Shangri La CVA 38, participated on a cruise to the Mediterranean.
January 1970: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO was assigned the Vought A-7B Corsair II.
October 1973: After completing a normal Med cruise and while returning to CONUS the USS Kennedy and her air wing, were redeployed into the Mediterranean, south of Crete to maintain the peace.
September 17 through 19, 1985: VA-72, along with other units of CVW-1 on USS America CV 66, were the first to conduct flight operations from a carrier operating inside a fjord near Vestfjord, Norway.
March 22 through 27, 1986: During Freedom of Navigation Exercises in the Gulf of Sidra and the resulting combat action with Libyan forces, VA-72 flew patrols to protect the task force from attack by surface ships or sub-marines and also provided tanker missions for fighters flying combat air patrols.
April 14, 1986: The United States initiated Operation Eldorado Canyon, air strikes against targets in Libya. VA-72 provided air-to-surface missile support for possible employment against surface-to-air missile radar sites.
September through October 1990 and December 1990 through January 1991: The squadron participated in Operation Desert Shield, the build up of American and Allied forces to counter a threatened invasion of Saudi Arabia by Iraq and as part of an economic blockade of Iraq to force its withdrawal from Kuwait.
January 17, 1991: The squadron's A-7E Corsair IIs participated in the first combat strike against Iraqi targets in Baghdad during Operation Desert Storm.
January 29, 1991: Squadron aircraft flew their first combat mission in the Kuwait theater, striking Iraqi troops, tanks and artillery positions.
February 27, 1991: Squadron aircraft participated in the last naval air combat strike of the war, hitting retreating Iraqi troops east of An Najef, Iraq. During the 43 days of war the squadron flew 362 sorties without the loss of a pilot or aircraft.
June 8, 1991: The last two squadron aircraft participated in the Desert Storm Victory Parade Fly Over in Washington, D.C.
June 30, 1991: Attack Squadron SEVENTY TWO (VA-72) disestablished at NAS Cecil Field, Florida.
Circa 1956: A-4A's being loaded aboard ship, most likely in 1956. Official U.S. Navy Photo via Ron Picciani.
Circa 1956: A-4A 139940 take-off photo by Harry Gann, most likely taken in 1956.1957: Blue Hawks flightline. L-r BuNo unknown, AG-311, BuNo 142177, AG-301 and BuNo unknown, AG-312. Larry Mahoney.
1958: A VA-72 A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142701. A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142701, side number AG 301, the pilot's name Ruiz -- photo was taken about 1958. U. S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
A-4C of VA-72 being towed ashore. NAN photo.
JUL58: NAN photo showing AD-3 Donahue aiding a VA-72 pilot start AG-306. JUL58 NAN
OCT 1958: VA-72 BuNo 142829 photographer is R. Kopitzke. Name under the cockpit rail is LTJG J. Laxdkxxer. TA-4 at left is VMAT-203 KD-1 and the A-4B at left is BuNo 144888 tail code 6M.
1959: BuNo 142712, AG-304, as she moves into position on the starboard cat. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
July 1959: Blue Hawks Skyhawk BuNo 144970 launches from the USS Independance. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1960: BuNo. 142122 side number AD-475 was first assigned to VA-44 in September 1958 and is pictured in 1960 leading a VA-44 Hornet A-4C. Photo from Walt Adams.
1960: Blue Hawks CO CDR J.K. Beiling in Skyhawk AJ-301 indicates readiness to take-off on a record setting strike of 2,250 miles non-stop from Oceana to the Caribbean. Naval Aviation News Photo
AUG 1961 NAN: Three Blue Hawks Skyhawks in formation during the 1961 Med cruise. BuNo 144978, AG-302, upper left; BuNo 144952 at bottom and BuNo 144898 at upper right in flight near Sardinia, Sicily. Naval Aviation News Photo.
July 1961: VA-72 Blue Hawks A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo 147845, AG-308, as a tow bar and tug is hooked up, USS Independence. Official U.S. Navy Photo.
July 1961: VA-72 Blue Hawks A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo 147845, AG-308, on the elevator, USS Independence. VA-86 Sidewinders A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 142687, AG-410, at right. Official U.S. Navy Photo.
1962-1963: VA-72 Blue Hawks A-4C Skyhawks BuNo 147845, AG-312, BuNo 148479, AG-304, and BuNo 149512, AG-301, in-flight with the tailhooks down over the USS Independence. Official U.S. Navy Photo.
1964 Med Cruise, CVA-62 USS Independence
Summer 1964: VA-72 Pilots Pose by A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 150007. U. S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
VA-72 Ready Room in 1964 aboard the "INDY". Here's a group photo of VA-72 officers taken in 1964 while the squadron was a part of Air Wing Seven. CDR Grover Walker had assumed command of the squadron February 17, 1964 while the squadron was deployed to the Med aboard Independence. Under his command, the squadron also deployed to the north Atlantic and Med from September to November 1964 aboard Independence.
Clockwise from top left #305 BuNo 150021 (#306), BuNo 150002 (#30?). BuNo 149993 and #300 BuNo 150008. Each with 2 drop tanks and a Bullpup on the centerline station. Photo caption reads; Air-to-Air of A-4E aircraft, Attack Squadron 72. 10 Jun 1964. Gary Verver Collection.
Circa 1964-1965: USS Independence VA-72 Blue Hawks A-4E Skyhawks BuNo 150021, AG-305, BuNo 150002, AG-306, BuNo 149993, AG-303, and BuNo 150008, AG-300, in-flight near Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana.
A "real" Hawk is shown off while at Cubi Point, PI. in 1965. Dave Griggs (later, an astronaut), Joe Mossman, USAF Capt. Joe Mitchum (exchange pilot), and Lane Hubbard (bottom bunk). All except Lane, as of 10 Jan 03, are deceased. Photo from Al Carpenter.
LTJG Joe Russell Mossman exits his "Scooter". LTJG Mossman was lost in combat on Sept. 13, 1965. Photo from Al Carpenter.
1965 WestPac Cruise USS Independence CVA-62
BuNo 150002 "Blue Hawk" Broken Tail Feather resulting from some night formation flying. Photo courtesy of Al Carpenter. Al was NOT the Driver!
United States Ship Independence CVA 62 Summer of 1965. U. S. Navy photograph from Al Carpenter.
1965: VA-72 in 1965. Boeing's photo caption was: "A total of 637 F-4Bs was manufactured. One of VF-41’s Phantoms, armed for combat air patrol over an A-4 Skyhawk strike force, is launched from the USS Independence on Yankee Station." The Skyhawk in the foreground is VA-72, BuNo 150007, and the one moving onto the cat is VA-86, BuNo 151149, modex 407. The Skyhawk behind 1149 is VA-86 modex 411. Boeing Photograph.
1965: Earlier in 1965 Skyhawk BuNo. 150002 was assigned with VA-72. Right echelon VA-72 Blue Hawks A-4E Skyhawks formation: from top to bottom BuNo 150008, AG-300, BuNo 149993, AG-303, BuNo 150021, AG-305, and BuNo 150002, AG-306, each with 2 drop tanks, 24 February 1965. Official U.S. Navy photo from "Puresome".
27 SEP 1965: BuNo 150007, AG-307, of VA-72 aboard CVA62 during the 1965 WestPac. Photo release. Photo U.S. Navy, G Verver.
1965: VA-72 A-4E Skyhawk on the Catapult. Blue Hawk A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151115 side number AG-313 in tension on the Independence CVA 62 starboard cat. In the background and on the port catapult is VA-86 Sidewinder A-4E Skyhawk BuNo.151166 side number AG-400 ready for flight. U. S. Navy photograph from Al Carpenter.
1965: A Diamond Formation VA-72 A-4E Skyhawks. A-4E Blue Hawk Skyhawks in a diamond formation from the United States Ship Independence CVA 62 in 1965. Lead BuNo. 150008 side number AG 300; #2 starboard of Leader BuNo. 149993 side number AG 303; #3 Port of leader BuNo. 150021 side number AG 305; #4 slot BuNo. 150002 side number AG 306. The picture was taken 1965. U. S. Navy photograph from Al Carpenter.
VA-72 Blue Hawk Squadron Personnel 1965: Commander Grover C. "Bull" Walker, February 10, 1965 as he passes VA-72 command to Commander Joe Adkins. U. S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
1965: Commander Joe D. Adkins after February 10, 1965 as he received documents from Captain "Blackie" Kennedy. U. S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
Summer of 1965: Three new VA-72 Centurions cut the cake. Indy XO Captain Sam Rorex and CAG Commander Garry Garland present a Centurion Cake to Commander Joe Adkins, and Lieutenant Junior Grade Jan Harris. U.S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
1965 VA-72 Officers. Back Row: Dick Koffarnus, Carl Moslener, Pat Kober, Jim Walker, Jack Davis, Hank Richarde, Bob Wilson Middle Row: Joe Mossman, Johnny Bittick, Gene Ernst, Hal Brewer, Lane Hubbard, Al Carpenter, Joe Mitchum, Don Smith Front Row: Dave Griggs, Errol Quinn, XO Harry Southworth, CO Joe Adkins, John Harris, Duane Tuttle. Photo from John Lammers.
May 1965 - December 1965: VF-84 Jolly Rogers F-4B Phantom II BuNo 151477, AG-201, launches from USS Independence (CVA-62). On deck are VF-84 Black Aces F-4B Phantom BuNo 152234, AG-203, VA-72 Blue Hawks A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150022, AG-310, VF-41 Black Aces F-4B Phantom II BuNo 150627, AG-103, VA-86 Sidewinders A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151166, AG-400, two HU-2 Fleet Angels UH-2A Seasprites, VAW-13 Zappers EA-1F Skyraider VR-701 and VA-75 Sunday Punchers A-6A Intruders BuNo 149948, AG-510, BuNo 151589, AG-512, and BuNo 149944, AG-511. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1966 - 1967 WestPac Cruise USS Roosevelt CVA-42
1966-67: VA-72 Blue Hawk Squadron Personnel. Front Row: Bob Wilson, Dick Lubberstedt, Carl Moslener, Joe Mitchum, Terry Thies, Larry Sharp, Walt Dow, Harry Hydrick, Don Smith, Chuck Wilson, Dave Griggs, Al Carpenter, Hal Brewer. Back Row: CO Harry Southworth, Chris Lomas, John Lamers, Bob Moloney, Johnny Johnston, John Stevens, Joh Hebbe, Pat Kober, Ed Moir, Ken Craig, XO Ed Hofstra. On March 15, 1967 CDR E. J. Hofstra takes command of VA-72 from CDR Harrison B. Southworth. In the background is Blue Hawk A-4E BuNo. 149993. Photo from John Lammers.A flight of four VA-72 Skyhawks tanking from a Whale. U.S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
A flight of four VA-72 A-4E Skyhawks in diamond formation. A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151058 side number AB 501 is nearest the camera. Picture was taken after February 1966. U.S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
03 Sep 1966.VA-72 A-4E BuNo 150023. P.N. Neighbors, AN, of VA-72 (left) and M. T. Martinez, SN, of VA-72 (right) jockey deadly ordnance to launch ready A-4 Skyhawk aircraft on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42). Gary Verver Collection.
02OCT66: A-72 BuNo 151106, AB-500, as it loses a SHRIKE missile during an arrested landing aboard the Roosevelt. Dated 2 Oct 1966 and is official U.S. Navy from Gary Verver collection.
DEC66: The FDR from the pilot's point of view on short final. Taken from a VFP-62, F-8 Crusader on December 12, 1966. U.S. Navy Photograph from Al Carpenter.
1966-67: VA-72 Blue Hawks with BuNo 151137. U. S. Navy Photograph from John Carpenter.
1967 - 1968 Med Cruise USS Roosevelt CVA-42
A VA-72 flight of three A-4B Skyhawks and United States Ship F. D. Roosevelt CVA 42 - 1967. Blue Hawk A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 144881, side number AB 501 leads Steve Pollock in A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142122, side number AB 502. Number three is A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142745, side number AB 505. This 1967 flyby photograph was taken by a RF-8 photo Crusader --- the whole air wing was lined up behind the photographer to get their pictures taken. The photographers almost never carried color film so this shot is in black and white. USN photograph from Steve Pollock.
The Commanding Officer's A-4B BuNo. 144881 side number AB 501. VA-72 Skipper Cdr. Ed Hofstra taxies to the FDR cat in A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 144881 side number AB 501. The Blue Hawks were assigned the A-4B Skyhawk in March 1967. USN photograph from Steve Pollock.
Circa 1967: A-4B in Signoella, Sicily some time 67-68. Don McGuffin.
1967: Blue Hawk A-4B Skyhawk at the Ramp. VA-72 A-4B Skyhawk is ready to catch the F. D. Roosevelt three wire. Photograph by Steve Pollock.
1967: VA-72 A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142818? side number AB 508 has the F. D. Roosevelt three wire. Photograph by Steve Pollock.
VA-72 Blue Hawk Squadron Personnel 1967 - 1968:
FEB 1968: BuNo 145000, AB-500, parked on the ramp. Duane Kasulka.
1969 Med Cruise USS Shangri La CVA-38
A-4B Loose Duece. BuNo. 142937 aand BuNo. 1450137 - 1969. During the United States Ship Shangri La CVS-38 Med cruise two A-4B Skyhawks climb away from the boat. Blue Hawk A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142937 side number AJ 503 leads Steve Pollock in A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 145013 side number AJ 507. Photograph from Steve Pollock.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: